Eye creams are the Marmite of the skin care world ― many find them completely unnecessary, others swear by them. Whichever camp you’re in, one thing is for certain: The area around the eyes is the thinnest skin you have, and considering the number of times you blink daily, this thin skin moves around constantly.
Zainab Laftah, a dermatologist at London Dermatology Centre in the U.K., explains that pollution, sun damage, poor sleep and general lifestyle might create a need to use an eye cream in your skin care routine. Nyla Raja, a dermatologist and the founder of U.K.-based aesthetic clinic Dr Nyla, agrees that the eye area will show the first signs of aging, so a specialized product can help with brightness, hydration and hollowness.
Sejal Shah, a dermatologist at Smarter Skin Dermatology in New York, explains that for some people, using a regular moisturizer up and around their eyes might be sufficient. “However, the benefit of eye creams is that they are specifically formulated for the thinner, more sensitive skin is this area ― the active ingredients might be the same, but may be at a lower concentration/potency in the eye cream ― and they contain ingredients to target issues specific to this area, which may not be a concern on the rest of your face.”
We asked board-certified dermatologists to share their favorite eye creams for targeting all sorts of concerns, including dark under-eyes, fine lines and more. Read on for their top suggestions.
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The Hydrating One
Midnight Recovery Concentrate
from Kiehl’s is a cult product, but you might not know they also make an eye cream that includes similar soothing and hydrating ingredients. This is nonirritating and will suit any skin type. Because of its essential oil, botanicals and lavender ingredients, it’s best used at night.
“The essential oils are particularly helpful at hydrating and restoring the skin, ideal for those with dry skin. Whilst squalane has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties targeting redness, puffiness and reducing fine lines,” Laftah said. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye cream, $37
The Retinol One
Retinol in an eye cream is a genius idea. Laftah is a big fan of this one, as it combines retinol with hyaluronic acid, making sure you won’t get any dryness around the delicate eye area.
“Retinol, a game changer, is your go-to ingredient for preventing fine lines," Laftah said. "It works by encouraging skin cell turnover and is highly effective at skin rejuvenation. Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a humectant which acts by attracting and binding water to the skin to give that transient improvement in fine lines.” This cream is also recommended by Shah. La Roche‑Posay Redermic R Eye cream, $46.95
The Pigmentation Savior
Dark eye circles are probably the most common under-eye problem dermatologists are approached for, Laftah noted.
“The cause is often multifactorial with genetic predisposition, increasing age, poor sleep, underlying skin and medical issues all playing a role,” Laftah said. “Ultraviolet light can worsen preexisting pigmentation. Therefore a sunscreen is an essential step in your daily skin care. Murad Essential-C eye cream contains in-demand ingredients SPF and vitamin C, both directed at reducing pigmentation.” Murad Essential-C Eye Cream, $70
“One of my go-to eye creams is Alastin Restorative Eye Cream,” said Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology
. “The specialized peptides in this formula are gentle but incredibly effective for collagen and elastin production for skin thickness and elasticity, which will improve under-eye discoloration, crepiness and thinning skin.” Alastin Restorative Eye Cream, $85
The High In Hyaluronic
Different molecular concentrations of hyaluronic acid will ensure your eye area will be fully hydrated, Raja said: “This has a high concentration of hyaluronics, which address hydration, helping to make the eye look brighter.” Intraceuticals Rejuvenate Eye Gel, $129
The Bag Eraser
If puffy eyes or under-eye bags are your main concern, Raja recommends the Intraceuticals Retouch Eyes cream.
“It is a powerhouse peptide serum that blurs out dark lines,” Raja said. Intraceuticals Retouch Eyes, $69
Targets Dark Circles
With a potent mix of vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, this cream will target dark circles effectively as well as fine lines, and is one of Shah’s recommendations. Revision Skincare Teamine Eye Complex, $81
The Double Defense
Raja really like the dual performing eye cream by Circadia, with one formula for the daytime and one for the night. “This is a day and night duo with different formulas to sync with your skin care needs throughout the day,” Raja said. “The day works to lighten under-eye circles by constricting capillaries, whereas the night formula focuses on repairing and increasing collagen formation, minimizing the formation of new lines as well as working to decrease fluid build-up and depuff.” Circadia Full Circle Eye Repair, $119.80
The Lightweight Miracle
An all-rounder is one of Shah’s recommendations, and this cream can be applied all around the eyes — which isn’t the case with every cream — and target fine lines, puffiness and dark circles. SkinFix Triple Lipid Boost 360 Eye, $40
Espresso For Your Eyes
An excellent budget option suggested by Shah, this 100% Pure eye cream packs a punch with the combination of caffeine that will boost the circulation in the eye area and help with dark circles and puffiness. 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream, $29